Mother Knows Best

Three generations. Is that me, or Jack in a pink dress?

What better day to honor my mom and share the life lessons she taught me and my sister than Mother’s Day. Some have been passed down through generations, while others are Patty’s originals. Nevertheless, all are ones to live by.

  • Everything happens for a reason. Literally everything. You may not know the reason yet, but you’ll see, just you wait. The older I get, the more I believe this…and the more patience I have to wait and see what the reason is.
  • What goes around comes around. If anyone has done you wrong, repeat this mantra. Eventually everything comes full circle, and karma gets ya. Truer words have never been spoken, folks.
  • Make your bed every day. While we’re at it, a true made bed is not just covers pulled up to the pillows. Oh no no. The fitted sheet is pulled taut, the corners of the top sheet are tightly tucked in hospital-like fashion, and the comforter is wrinkle free. And those decorative pillows? Those are for looking, not sleeping.This is a real challenge for me when Ryan is on a stretch of night shifts and I can’t make the bed until late afternoon (what would my grandma think?!).
  • Once the bed is made, you’re out of it for the day. If you get sick, you set up camp on the couch (covered in a sheet) and bust out the Vick’s. I don’t recall my mom ever sick on the couch (does your mom even get sick?), but I do remember when Ryan was sick and he tried to lay on the couch without a sheet. I was amazed, and then couldn’t believe my eyes when he got back in bed.
  • Ironing is a necessary task and is even claimed by some to be calming. The second part is debatable, but sometimes even the wrinkle free setting on the dryer just doesn’t cut it and you need to “press over” something. Here’s a fun fact: I learned how to iron in the 5th grade. I think I was the only college freshman who brought an ironing board.
You better believe our dresses were “pressed over.”
  • The secret to a perfect red sauce (aka gravy) is a pork chop, and it’s best served over spaghetti on Sundays. All babies, regardless of age or amount of teeth, should to try the noodles too. My grandma was appalled that I preferred buttered noodles over her gravy when I was a baby. Thankfully my mom assured her I would eventually come around.
  • Lasagna and black olives are served at every holiday. The black olives are set out in a small bowl to snack on before dinner. I assumed everyone ate black olives off their fingers, but quickly realized that was not the case when I saw Ryan’s face as I explained the process.
  • You should never swallow gum or eat raw cookie dough. Both will grow in your belly. All lies, my friends. I’ve had two babies in my belly, but they never found any gum. And I prefer cookie dough to an actual cookie any day.
  • The best chocolate is a 1LB Hershey’s bar. Anything else is just a waste. While I love the “go big or go home” mentality here, I more of a Reese’s fan.
  • The key to makeup is not looking made up; a little goes a long way. Dab on a little when you’re even running out to the grocery store because you never know who you’ll see out and about. The days I don’t wear makeup (and look like I’m in shambles) are always the days I see someone I know. So there’s proof my mom was right. Thank god for masks right now!
  • Always wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident. Never mind that if you’re in an accident, your underwear won’t matter one bit, still a good rule to live by.
  • Don’t be afraid to accessorize your outfit. Some of the best outfits are created with simple, staple pieces and a great necklace or printed shoe. I’ve tried to explain the difference between and importance of each leopard print shoe in my closet to Ryan, but sadly he just doesn’t understand.
I added this necklace to spice up this dress (the only one that actually fit at this point in my pregnancy) so I could still feel put together at my baby shower.
  • Everyone has bad days, which means two things. 1. tomorrow is a new day and 2. you may need a little pick-me-up. The severity of the bad day determines the level of pick-me-up. Some days, you just reach for the ice cream, other days, you click “add to cart.”
  • If you’re using the phrase, “if it were me…” it’s in your best interest to do what’s being discussed. This is classic mom vocabulary–a way to tell you to do something without actually telling you. Genius.
  • If you’re not happy with your service, ask to speak to the manager. And don’t let them push you around, you’re better than that! Last year, we had issues with our new refrigerator. I spoke to so many managers and kept getting the runaround. I refused to back down, and guess what. We ended up with a brand new refrigerator, FOR FREE. Even Ryan was impressed.
  • Nothing good happens after midnight. In fact, you should probably make sure you’re inside before the street lights come on. Good luck figuring out what time that is.

Some days I feel like I’m in the weeds right now with the boys; it’s hard to see past the long days of the “terrible twos.” I tend to dwell on the times I lost my patience or when a planned activity completely flopped. I never remember my mom losing her patience with either me or my sister or feeling discouraged when we were young.

Instead, I remember her making the small things special. She took me on walks, picked me up from school, let me lick the spatula after we made brownies, knew all of my favorite things, and was always there…no matter where “there” was. I know she learned that from my grandma, who had a way of making every one of her grandkids feel like they were her favorite.

So on the days when I call her sobbing that I’m failing as a mom, she reminds me what my grandma reminded her: as long as you show your kids you love them, nothing else will matter. And she’s right (aren’t all mothers?). After all, the bad days make the good ones that much better.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. Motherhood isn’t always rainbows and cupcakes. Your kids will never remember the bad days though, only that you loved them unconditionally.

This was my 2nd birthday. My mom let me put my “one to grow on” candle in the bunny’s butt. What a gal.


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